by Yumian Deng
Brief Biographical Information: extracted from Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
(b. April 15, 1452, Anchiano, near Vinci, Republic of Florence [now in Italy]—d. May 2, 1519, Cloux [now Clos-Lucé], France)
The son of a landowner and a peasant, he received training in painting, sculpture, and mechanical arts as an apprentice to Andrea del Verrocchio. About 1490 he began his project of writing treatises on the “science of painting,” architecture, mechanics, and anatomy. His theories were based on the belief that the painter, with his powers of perception and ability to pictorialize his observations, was uniquely qualified to probe nature’s secrets. His numerous surviving manuscripts are noted for being written in a backward script that requires a mirror to be read. In 1502–03, as military architect and engineer for Cesare Borgia, he helped lay the groundwork for modern cartography. Though only some 17 completed paintings survive, they are universally seen as masterpieces.
Leonardo is one of the greatest artists ever. His drawing is very technical, classical and graceful. He paid great tension to details and how his drawing can reveal the real object. In order to draw realistically, he even made anatomic study of human or animal body, which is prohibited at that time. He also master the law of perspective and we can see clearly the vanish point from his drawing or painting (The Last Supper, for example).